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Safety and health

The safety of our employees, contractors, visitors and the surrounding community is the key value at ExxonMobil.

We believe that no business objective is so important that it will be pursued at the sacrifice of safety. In short, a job is well done only if it is done safely.

We strive for an incident-free workplace and a culture that complies with our clear and simple objective: Nobody Gets Hurt. It is a vision through which our employees and contractors accept personal accountability for their own safety, and are willing to intervene to ensure the safety of all.

In 2009, ExxonMobil Baton Rouge began to integrate the Loss Prevention System (LPS) safety program into employee and contractor work processes. LPS is a system to prevent or reduce losses using behavior-based tools and proven management techniques.

Along with LPS, long standing committees like the Joint Health and Safety Committee, Department Safety Committees, and others meet regularly to discuss safety and health issues of general interest. Several audit and observation programs exist to identify and mitigate hazards. Committed involvement with these committees and audit and observation programs ensure the goal of Nobody Gets Hurt.

OSHA's Voluntary Protection Program (VPP)

We realize that participation in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) Safety Through Accountability and Recognition (STAR) program is key to increasing employee involvement in safety. Through this joint effort between the U.S. government, the industry and unions, every employee and contractor is actively engaged in looking after the safety of all.

In 1999, the Baton Rouge Plastics Plant was certified as an OSHA VPP STAR site and was recertified in 2002. In 2003, the site received the Star of Excellence award; in 2004, it was named Region VI VPP Star Among Stars facility; and in 2005, it received Region VI VPP Super Star Among Stars award.

The Port Allen Lubricants Plant and ExxonMobil Process Research Laboratories at the Baton Rouge Refinery were certified as OSHA VPP STAR facilities in 2006.

April 2016 - Three ExxonMobil Baton Rouge chemical plants earn top safety honors from AFPM

Congratulations go to the Polyolefins (BRPO), Plastics (BRPP), and Chemical (BRCP) plants, recipients of national 2016 American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) Distinguished Safety Awards (DSA). Of the six national finalists for the top honor, four were ExxonMobil Chemical sites, and three of those were right here in Baton Rouge.

The platinum version of the award for the top honor in the country goes to BRPO. As impressive an accomplishment as that is, the plant’s record of winning the award is even more exemplary: This is the 10th time in 13 years—and the third consecutive year—that BRPO has won the very highest award given by AFPM. Since the safety awards program began in 1982, no other company has earned the coveted Distinguished Safety Award seven years in a row (from 2002-2008).

BRPP brings home the Elite Gold Award by AFPM, which recognizes the top 1% in the industry that have exhibited a superior level of safety performance and program innovation. BRPP has won the top Distinguished Safety Award twice before and the Silver in 2014. It just finished its second consecutive year without a recordable.

BRCP also receives AFPM’s Elite Gold Award as a facility in the top 1% of all petrochemical manufacturers for its safety performance and innovation. A facility must be exceptional just to be eligible, and once it is selected, it is among the industry elite.

The DSA Selection Committee sent the application to approximately 300 AFPM member facilities. Of those sites, only 24 passed the application screening criteria. During the selection process, each application was scored, reviewed and discussed in detail by the 14 safety professionals that make up the committee. The list of finalists was narrowed to six, and winners were announced at the AFPM annual meeting luncheon.

BRPO Safety Supervisor Lori Paris and BRPO Operations Manager Brian Jones represented BRPO in the competition. Having three other ExxonMobil sites in the running—all with robust LPS and OIMS programs that drive the safety culture—presented a challenge for BRPO as to how it could differentiate itself. Jones says they utilized a few videos of employees and contractors during the interview that focused on the things they thought they did really well at the site, and the videos made an impression on the panel.

“I am very proud of our team at BRPO,” says Plant Manager Angela Zeringue.” The AFPM DSA is the pinnacle of safety awards and reflects the dedication that each individual working here at BRPO has towards personnel and process safety. Their engagement, safety leadership, attention to detail and commitment to safeguarding each other are essential to ensuring that each of us returns home safely to our family and friends. BRPO is a very special place and I am blessed to be a part of it,” she says.

BRPP Safety Advisor Rodney McGehee and BRPP Operations Superintendent Harold Meunier represented BRPP at the selection interviews. Plastics Plants SSHE Supervisor Claudette Bradford says the facility’s strong employee engagement with near-loss reporting and its near-loss to loss ratio of 7:1 is a significant accomplishment. It was one of the many items considered in the application process.

BRCP Process Division Manager Steve Hamilton, BRCP SSHE Manager Jimmy Carlton, BRCP Superintendent Ernesto Johnson and BRCP LPS Core Team Lead Justin Shrauner represented BRCP at the interviews and conference at AFPM. Plant Manager Bob Johnston not only commends the team for its preparation and presentation that reflected the extremely high level of performance the BRCP team achieved last year—more than 5 million direct work hours—but also for the hard work by the team over a number of years that has led to this best-ever year.

A special recognition for these awards is planned during the Safety Awards Event at the AFPM National Occupational & Process Safety Conference in May in San Antonio, Texas.

November 2015 - ExxonMobil wins awards

The Chemical and Polyolefins plants plus employee Robert Berg have earned awards at Louisiana Chemical Association’s(LCA) annual conference.

Both the Chemical and Polyolefins plants were named LCA's “Best in Louisiana” SAFE award, the association's highest honor. State Regulatory advisor Robert Berg was recognized by LCA as the Environmental MVP.

“We had sixty-three chemical facilities from forty-seven different member chemical companies who competed in four categories based on employee size,” said Dan Borné, President of the Louisiana Chemical Association. He said each of the winning facilities achieved the highest five-year safety and environmental performance in their group, averaging 90.4 percent better than their peers.

LCA's “Best in Louisiana” SAFE award winners are: Air Liquide, Norco in St. Charles Parish (100 or fewer employees), Nicholas Frasier, Plant Manager; Angus Chemical in Ouachita Parish (101-200 employees), Ernest Green, Plant Manager; ExxonMobil, Polyolefins in Baton Rouge (201-400 employees), Angela Zeringue, Plant Manager; and ExxonMobil, Baton Rouge Chemical Plant (over 400 employees), Bob Johnston, Site Manager.

Bob Johnston, ExxonMobil Baton Rouge Chemical Plant Manager, said, “At ExxonMobil, safety is a value. It comes first in all that we do. I believe achievements like the LCA Best in Louisiana SAFE Award showcase our employees' ownership of safety and commitment to each other.”

“I'm very proud of our team's strong commitment to excellence and for achieving a second consecutive LCA Best in Louisiana SAFE Award,” said Angela Zeringue, ExxonMobil Baton Rouge Polyolefins Plant Manager. “We all take great pride in the safety culture and safety performance at our site,” she added.

Robert Berg was named “Most Valuable Person” award by the LCA’s Environmental Affairs Committee. The award recognizes Robert's outstanding service, professionalism and dedication to the Louisiana Chemical Association (LCA) over the past year, as is evidenced by a vote from his peers. This is the 7th time that Robert has been recognized with this award.

"It is the sweat equity of our committee volunteers that makes LCA successful," said Dan Borne, LCA President.

November 2015 - Chemical Safety Excellence Award

From the railroad’s perspective, ExxonMobil is one big company. But the Baton ExxonMobil Chemical again recognized for safe railroad transport Rouge Chemical Plant can hang its engineer’s cap on the fact that it ships the majority of liquid chemicals from among all company plants nationwide - and with utmost care.

For the third year in a row, and in six of the last nine years listed for recipients, CSX has honored ExxonMobil Chemical Co. with its Chemical Safety Excellence Award. The award is presented to customers that ship at least 600 carloads of hazardous materials or waste without experiencing a non-accident release during the year. A typical railcar holds 90 tons.

Of course, that is a noteworthy accomplishment in itself. But when you consider that Baton Rouge facilities ship 10 times what CSX sets as its minimum each year, the feat is even more impressive. “We do about 6,000 cars a year out of here,” notes Bob Christian, distributions operations supervisor. “The interesting thing about it is this: Not everyone can win the award, but any Exxon facility can lose it for us because the rail carrier looks at Exxon as a whole. From the CSX railroad standpoint, it is just the company name. Then our folks look at it and ask, ‘OK, who had the lion’s share of the shipments that constitute this?’ Baton Rouge had the most.”

CSX is the connecting carrier, but the chemical plant is directly served by the Kansas City Southern Railroad. “We give the shipment to KCS, and then it’s routed to somewhere along the East Coast; KCS takes it to New Orleans and hands it to CSX, and CSX takes it the rest of the way,” explains Pat Quint, BR area rail management supervisor. Quint’s group handles all of the rail coordination for three different plants in the metro area, working with the Union Pacific and Canadian National railroads as well. But no matter the carrier, the railcars are the responsibility of the shipper of record, ExxonMobil Chemical, from door to door. And that trip can be a long one, as shipments go as far as Canada and Mexico, notes Christian.

SGS Petroleum Service Corp., a local company that has expanded nationwide, started its loading rack business at the BR chemical plant back in 1987. According to ExxonMobil BRCP Site Supervisor Nathan Jarreau, “There are about 25 operators that work on the load rack, and they are the last to see, smell, and touch the product before it leaves out the gate. We train all our guys on the fundamentals of the anatomy of the railcar so they know how everything operates, what to do in the case of an emergency, or what to do if a car starts leaking. They know what to do.

“We make sure everything is secured and ready for shipment before it leaves out of here. We have had some cars that we loaded that were involved in derailments and still didn’t leak,” he says proudly. Jarreau also prides himself on being a safe worker; this coming March will make 17 years without an injury.

The process of transporting products by rail is multilayered, and the railcars go through many steps before they are released for shipment. According to Christian, most of the cars belong to or are leased by ExxonMobil. “Railroads typically don’t own a lot of tank cars, and we mostly ship liquid product out of the chem plant,” he says. “I want to say we are the second-largest private owner of railcars after Archer Daniels Midland.”

“We’ve got our own storage yard north of town,” adds Quint. “That is Brooklawn Yard, and it holds 1,365 cars. My group does the front end work, where we schedule the cars into the plant. We know we have the right tracking systems that tell us what that car previously contained, so if we see the orders and loading schedules coming up, we can reach out there and grab the compatible cars,” he explains.

“We turn everything over for loading, and then we get all the paperwork back when the cars are loaded and ready to ship. Then we take care of all the billing. We don’t touch the cars,” explains Quint.

“A lot of people think that railcars are old, big, rusty, junky-looking things, but what’s funny is that the paint job on the outside is not critical. If you look at the inside of those cars, they are pretty pristine,” Quint states. “It’s quite amazing. But we try not to let them look too bad on the outside.”

And the railcars are not as ancient as they sometimes appear. Each is equipped with an AEI tag, which is a small sensor that is detected by trackside readers all along the route. As cars pass by the reader, information is collected and distributed to the shipper by the railroads.

Jarreau adds, “On the railcars, all of the numbers are very similar; it would be very easy to glance at the railcar and then the paperwork and think everything looks OK and ship the wrong product to the wrong company. There are several confirmations: We do all the DOT checks. We prepare the car for loading. We do our interior inspections. We check all our valves, all our plugs, and all our gaskets to make sure they are in good shape. Then, we load the cars. We have to get a gauge on the cars depending on the temperature of the product, and it tells us weight-wise how much we can put in each car.”

Quint summarizes the process: “When ExxonMobil builds the car, we’re certifying that it’s been inspected, it’s been loaded properly, it’s been sealed properly, and it’s mechanically fit to ship.”

Approximately 80 percent of the chemical plant’s yearly rail traffic is for outbound products, which include lube oils, wax, plasticizers, and isopropyl alcohol. The 20 percent in incoming feed stocks are also offloaded by Jarreau’s team.

In May, CSX announced the winners of its annual award, presented for the past 21 years. Oftentimes, the prize is mailed to headquarters in Houston, but this year company officials asked if they could come do a site visit and actually present the award at the Baton Rouge Chemical Plant. That ceremony took place on November 12.

ExxonMobil has gotten similar awards from other railroads as well, according to Christian. “There’s actually an office over in the west office building where all the awards are set up on the credenza—at least all the awards we have in our possession,” he says.

CSX's annual Chemical Safety Excellence Award celebrates its customers' commitment to safe railcar loading and maintenance. Recipients understand the best practices of chemical safety, and they demonstrate a commitment to those practices and strong industry leadership among their peers.

“Safety is CSX’s first priority and the most crucial element of transportation,” said Skip Elliott, vice president—public safety, health, and environment for CSX. “We are proud to work with customers who are equally committed to upholding the highest standards in safety.”

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